How to detox your budget ahead of expensive holiday season

Signs you should look closely at your expenses, tighten up spending

Taking a good look at your money and establishing a budget is never fun or easy, but it’s important to do, especially ahead of the expensive holiday season.

The fall and winter holiday season can be the most expensive time of the year. Reviewing your expenses now could make things less stressful for you in a few months.

And if you’re scared to look at the balance on your bank account, or wondering where all your money went this summer -- you might be in need of a budget detox.

“The first step in detoxing your budget is to take a look at where your money is going to assess your finances and give yourself a bit of an audit,” said money savings expert Andrea Woroch. “You can’t change what you can’t see.”

It’s important to take a hard look over your expenses from the last couple of months, to really see where your money is going. Consider if there are expenses that you took on during the pandemic that you don’t need anymore. Review your subscriptions and memberships, and ask yourself if you really need all of them.

“Another sign that you need to detox your budget and your spending is if you’re afraid to look at your credit card balances, that is one of the biggest red flags that means you likely overspent,” Woroch said. “But if you don’t look at the damage you did, there’s no way to make a plan to recover.”

Woroch recommends looking closely at your bank statements, including the interest -- they might motivate you to cut back.

“If you are just feeling stressed out about your financial situation, that’s a really good time to sit down and come up with a plan for how and where you can cut back, and how you can save,” Woroch said.

Related: Money Monday: How to establish an emergency fund

One suggestion for saving more money is to make more money, like with a side hustle, if you have the time. Woroch says there are additional jobs that people can take on like virtual tutoring or watching pets.

“I feel like a lot of people, when it comes to saving money and redoing their budget, they don’t want to make sacrifices,” Woroch said. “But if you just look at your expenses, there could be some small and easy tweaks to help you cut back on those monthly expenses that you can live without to free up that money so you can pay off your debt.”

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About the Author:

Hank Winchester is Local 4's Consumer Investigative Reporter and the head of WDIV's "Help Me Hank" Consumer Unit. He works to solve consumer complaints, reveal important recalls and track down thieves who have ripped off metro Detroiters.